Finalist 2022

Crushed But Okay

Today / Alannah and Madeline Foundation / Banalarama

A social-first campaign featuring young Aussie influencers reacting to real stories of online interactions between young men and women.

The series takes a strengths-based approach to help teen boys build healthy relationships online by giving them the tools to safely, ethically process emotions—like rejection—in their own language.

Design Brief:

Many factors—nature, nurture, societal—influence the way young men experience, understand and respond to interactions with young women. There’s a cultural phenomena of young men handling ambiguity and rejection poorly. This can cause harm to young people in the form of online abuse and unsolicited behaviours. Our challenge was to decrease the likelihood of technology-facilitated harms of a sexualised nature by helping young men manage their responses to cultural pressures around interacting with young women. We wanted to build awareness of the issue, reframe failure, build empathy and grow skills to positively express intimacy in an engaging format for young men.

View the campaign website


This project was developed by:

Design Process

We used HCD practices to develop everything for Crushed But Okay. Collaborating with 15-20 year old men and women, we devised the campaign and video series through consecutive co-design workshops and consultative sessions. Together we highlighted the key concerns and knowledge gaps for young men, and then concepted solutions. Next, we iterated and affinity mapped ideas, multiplying until we had almost 100! After shortlisting and voting, the influencer video series was selected as the winning idea. The participants became our consultants, guiding and informing every aspect of ‘Crushed But Okay’ from the branding to selecting influencers to react to real, relatable stories.

Crushed But Okay forms part of Improve Your Play—a project delivered by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation (AMF), in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology, and funded by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. Improve Your Play is the first project of its kind in Australia to collaborate with young people throughout the project to co-design resources and interventions to educate young 15-17 year old men “about consent and harmful sexualised behaviours online and equip them with skills to communicate respectfully”(source).

Crushed But Okay is a unique project for AMF creating resources with and for young people rather than educators. The brand and visual identity was selected by young creative advisors as being the most effective to grab the attention and resonate with young men The entire campaign takes a social-first approach to meet young men where they already are—Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. All videos and social media content were designed 9:16 and 1:1 for Instagram Stories,Instagram posts and TikTok. Four microinfluencers were sourced and selected by youth advisors to increase authenticity and virability of the video concepts.

Design Excellence

Visual design: The final design style and branding was selected and developed with guidance from youth creative advisors (men and women under 20). The brand had to feel genuine—not like older people trying to relate to young people—and have cut through/be noticeable in market so young people would stop and engage with the content naturally. The result was a brand the youth advisors were really proud of, and proud to put their name to help promote and further the message.

Usability: The videos and social media posts were designed to be native to social media to meet young men where they naturally are (Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat), sized 9:16 and 1:1. This is in keeping with designing a resource and campaign for young people, by young people in their own words—not by and for educators and adults.

Commerciality: Beyond the visual branding, the youth advisors also guided the selection of influencers and the real online stories the influencers reacted to. This feeds into the authenticity of the video series and campaign and desirability for young men to watch and learn from influencers they already follow.

Design Innovation

Improve Your Play was the first project of it’s kind in Australia, involving young people in decision making and design at every stage of the process, including the creation and launch of Crushed But Okay. It’s also the first AMF project that focuses on directly addressing and engaging with young people, not through parents or educators. This approach was crucial to the success of the campaign.

Young people needed this learning experience to be completely authentic and driven by their styles, language and social activity. “I think it’s good, it’s engaging - I reckon it’s good how it’s not just focusing on the story. It makes it easy to listen to” Pat, 17 “It’s in your face but not trying to down play the realness of the actual stories” Jon, 17 (about social media posts) “Really actually helpful as a resource. People could use to send to their friends going through it for the first time. Figuring out their footing” Jon, 17

Design Impact

Developing and launching this campaign with the guidance and input of youth advisors meant automatic backing and buy in from all those involved in promoting a great message—that rejection happens, and it’s okay to feel bad about it, but here are some healthy ways you can reframe and cope with negative emotions you may be feeling.

The design and style of Crushed But Okay is but the well-dressed vessel for delivering much needed new tools and skills to young men and filling the knowledge gap. The content and themes discussed in the videos shift the onus off young women to be solely responsible for the feelings and responses of others; instead, they provide a safe space in a familiar, personal setting (their social media accounts) for young people to begin the conversation about relationships and rejection, the ambiguity and negative emotions they may experience, and how to cope and respond in healthy, constructive ways that don’t damage either party further.

Launched in April 2022, two societal impacts from the project are clear: - Throughout our co-design and consultation sessions we consistently heard young men say “I wish we had something like this sooner” both in relation to the messages in the videos as well as the safe space to talk about the same issues. - Authenticity is fundamental to the project’s success with young men. Because all aspects of the project were guided by young people the outcome achieves this authenticity—speaking genuinely about issues impacting young people in their language, their style and in a format that was native to them.

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